On Friday night, I found myself attending twelve mini parties, each with its own theme. There was a carnival, a gem workshop, a secret garden…and lots of women dressed in sequins and tutus. I think it is pretty obvious at this point that parties are not exactly in (or frankly anywhere near) my comfort zone. But I was curious enough about how the mini-parties worked and really wanted to see the décor, so I sucked it up, sucked on a dress and went. And it was fun. What’s not fun about a party where there is a table full of glue guns and gems and hairbands and they want you to make whatever you can imagine? What’s not fun about a Ryan Gosling kissing booth? The decorations were outstanding. Several of the sponsors went all out and a few of the parties were hosted by bloggers whose creations were totally over the top. Plus I scored a new lip gloss from Bare Escentuals (at the Collectively party, thanks Collectively!) that I never would have picked out but is actually awesome. Perhaps I needed something in my life called “hot shot”.
I had a text from my oldest step-daughter when I got back to my room, letting me know that she had that night started recruitment (translation rush for those of us of a certain age). It occurred to me while we were texting back and forth that Hannah and I were actually living in a parallel universe. What I had just attended felt exactly like rush twenty years ago. Lots of themed parties, music designed to set a certain mood (in that case, fun and sisterhood; in this case, nostalgia), and lots of girls who I thought were smarter or prettier or more talented than me. It really is funny how some things don’t change even as they change tremendously. I am a step-mom to five teenagers and a mom to two pre-schoolers. I run a household of nine people pretty efficiently. I’ve attended grad school. I’ve worked for BigCo. I’ve owned my own business. But I am still the girl who decorated the halls of my sorority with balloons (um, ok, maybe Felix did that this winter). I am still the girl who knows how to have a good dance party in the living room. And I am still the girl who, when faced with a room full of strong, creative women, runs the other way for fear that they may discover that she doesn’t really belong there.
The thing about Hannah is, she is brave. She looks at the world as if it is hers for the taking if she works hard and goes after what she wants. She is embracing college in the best ways. She believes in creating her own path. I am proud of her for trying out recruitment, something that she never thought she might like. It is an experiment. And she is willing to risk it.
Just like I was. And I am so glad that I did. Those experiences that you never expected to have actually come in handy when you least expect it.
Oh, and PS. How about one more little nugget? In a life-comes-full-circle moment, I attended Friday night’s mini-parties with a black eye. Just like twenty two years ago when I got dirt in my eye, which scratched my cornea, resulting in my having to wear an eye patch for a week right around rush. Probably should have broken out the eye patch on Friday night for good measure.